Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot

Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot
Brixton O2 Academy

Brian Setzer! I tried to see him once before, when he was a Stray Cat on a European farewell tour. Unfortunately, Slim Jim Phantom had an accident the night before I was due to see them and the Manchester show was cancelled. It was my biggest concert disappointment to date.

Fortunately, I was (just) free for a trip to London to catch Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot. It was not to be the full Stray Cat experience, but with Slim Jim on board too it was clearly not going to be too far off.

I'd been to the O2 Academy once before, to see the Dave Matthews Band in 2009. The queue this time was equally long, stretching right around the building.

We were treated to two support acts before the main event.

First of all, The Caezars, followed closely by...

...the Jim Jones Revue. Both were very energetic. The Caezars were more to my taste but it's fair to say that the sound wasn't particularly good for either group and the song lyrics weren't always clear. Nevertheless, it all added to a fine evening of entertainment.

Then, around 9.45 p.m., the group struck up 'Ignition' and 'the rockinest cat in the galaxy' took to the stage, a Rockabilly hero resplendent in his green themed attire.

The Rockabilly Riot started as a three-man act, with Johnny 'Spazz' Hatton on the Bass and Noah Levy (dressed suspiciously like Doctor Who) on drums.

Go cat, go!

Another member of the Riot Squad - Kevin McKendree, on keyboards - appeared for some of the numbers.

The first set featured nine Rockabilly numbers, including highlights 'This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof' and 'Put Your Cat Clothes On'.

The second set saw a change in personnel with the arrival of...

...Slim Jim Phantom! Back on the very stage he fell off in 2008! Nobody in the world plays drums like this Stray Cat. No foot pedals required!

Needless to say, this stage of the Riot brought blistering renditions of Stray Cats classics, starting with 'Rumble in Brighton'. Bass duties were taken over by Chris D'Rozario.

Set List

'49 Mercury Blues
This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof
Drive Like Lightning (Crash Like Thunder)
Slow Down/Folsom Prison Blues
Put Your Cat Clothes On
Blue Moon Of Kentucky

Rumble In Brighton
Runaway Boys
(She's) Sexy + 17
Stray Cat Strut
Cry Baby
Red Hot
Fishnet Stockings

Encore: Rock This Town

Second Encore: Seven Nights To Rock

By now, the Riot was definitely in full swing.

During 'Fishnet Stockings', Johnny 'Spazz' Hatton returned to the stage to enter into a Bass duel with Chris D'Rozario. After a little while, Brian Setzer vanished for a minute and returned carrying yet another Bass on his shoulder. This led to incredible scenes with all three of them competing with each other at the front of the stage.

Following this brilliant Bass bout, the Riot Squad picked up the thread of 'Fishnet Stockings' again and continued to entertain us all with their extraordinary technique.

The finale to 'Fishnet Stockings' saw Brian Setzer given a Bass guard of honour for his final riffs.

It was almost the end, but there was still time for a couple of encores...

'Rock This Town' - they certainly did!

The full Riot Squad continued to rip it up. Note the foot helping with the keyboard.

One Bass resting on another!

Slim Jim just didn't want to stop. We didn't want him to, either.

Goodnight...? Not quite!

'Seven Nights To Rock' - and the last chance to rock out.

And it really was goodnight this time. What a great show! I hope the Rockabilly Riot returns some day. It certainly made up for missing the concert back in 2008.

The only problem with the extended show was that it meant I couldn't catch the tube back to the hotel as they had stopped running just before midnight. After a bit of walking around I managed to sort out the correct night buses back to Bayswater.

I was in London for a couple more days and there was still lots to see and do...

Keep up to date with all things Setzer at his official website.

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